How the Romney Campaign Is Eluding Campaign Contribution Limits

Before you write your big check to Idaho, Mr. Banker, please understand that you may be part of a ploy to stealthily violate donation limits and move funds secretly in the dark of night to the more contested states.
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Talk about burying the lead, in an article today in the Wall Street Journal entitled, "Pushback for Romney Fund: New Effort Raises Red Flags for Wall Street Donors Due to Tighter SEC Rules," the Journal waits until the last two paragraphs of the piece to unleash the truly newsworthy story.

The article is supposed to be a warning to potential big Wall Street contributors to Romney's campaign that they may run afoul of new SEC rules from 2010 if they want to contribute to Romney under this announced new fundraising plan that allows contributions as large as $75,800 per individual and still do investment management business in particular states that Romney is raising money for. That's right, the FEC has no problem with the magnitude of this type of campaign contributing, but it runs into a technical problem with the SEC, of all places.

In the body of the article they do point out that Romney has raised more than $12 million from Wall Street so far in this campaign compared to Obama's $4 million. It does make one wonder how someone could be an even bigger friend of Wall Street than Obama has been since the crisis in not dealing with effective reforms of the banks such as limiting their size, limiting their debt leverage, arresting or at least firing complicit and law-breaking executives, controlling their derivatives exposure and forcing the banks to properly account for their bad real estate loans by writing down principal balances to help underwater homeowners and the general economy.

Certainly, Romney will be in favor of continuing huge tax breaks for the wealthy, such as maintaining the lower tax rate for capital gains as opposed to ordinary income, the carried interest rules that provide a smaller tax rate for profits to investment fund managers like himself, lower corporate taxation of dividends and interest, continued off-shore tax havens that he himself has made use of, no reform of the already abused and ineffective inheritance tax system, and most likely a major attempt to lower federal income tax rates on the richest Americans.

But, the big story is saved for the last two paragraphs of the WSJ piece, and I quote;

"The joint fundraising committee includes state parties that are permitted by federal election law to make unlimited federal-dollar transfers to the battleground state parties," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

The Romney Victory fund resembles efforts pioneered by former President George W. Bush to use state parties to raise more money for the candidate. But there's one major difference: The Bush campaigns steered money into the most targeted battlegrounds, such as Florida and Ohio, while the Romney campaign has settled on states that won't be competitive in the fall.

You see, in the plan, Romney is suggesting that these big Wall Street fat cats not only give the allowed maximum to his campaign and the Republican National Committee of $35,800, he is recommending they give an additional $40,000, $10,000 each to the state GOP accounts in four states, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont bringing their individual total contribution to Romney's effort to an astounding $75,800.

You probably see what jumped out at me; none of these four states is anywhere near being a battleground state. For Obama to sweep Idaho in the fall he would have to radically alter his message, and maybe his skin color, to appeal to the many armed militias and white supremacist groups located there. Similarly, if Romney wins his liberal home state of Massachusetts we will be looking at the biggest electoral landslide since Reagan in 1984, certainly the biggest upset in history of a sitting President.

What is going on, and demonstrates how obscene and transparent the candidates have become in their grabbing more and more money from their millionaire friends on Wall Street, is that Romney chose four states that not only have high per person contribution limits to their state party organizations, these four states have no restrictions on later moving the funds into real battleground states where they can be used for television ads, mail or other voter-turnout efforts on Romney's behalf.

So, before you write your big check to Idaho, Mr. Banker, please understand that you may be part of a ploy to stealthily violate donation limits and move funds secretly in the dark of night to the more contested states. While you may gain comfort from your lawyers that what you are doing is legal, we will remember. Like Madame Defarge in the Tale of Two Cities, we are knitting your names into our quilt of the most offensive and are only waiting for the return of the guillotine to exact our revenge.

John R. Talbott is a best selling author and economic consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash and the economic crisis. You can read more about his books, the accuracy of his predictions and his advisory services for families at

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